I remember seeing the telepresense robot on The Big Bang Theory and thinking it was somewhat silly, and not a great substitute for a live person. The whole episode was a bit humorous and funny, with Sheldon attempting to prevent himself from befalling any harm by using the robot to substitute for him at work.
It's amazing how your view of the world can change in a few years. The past three years have had me traveling 15+ times a year to various events to deliver presentations on a variety of topics. However I'm cancelling all future talks in 2014, at least for live travel.
The VGo telepresence robot has been offered to Red Gate on a trial basis for us to test it in a number of ways. We are looking to use this robot to allow us to reach more users and deliver more talks as well as perform consulting for some of our customers. We have worked with VGo to not only allow a broadcast presence of myself or a developer from Red Gate, but we have built a turnkey demonstration system.
With a custom shipping container holding the VGo and a Gigbyte BRIX mounted on it, anyone can easily unpack the robot in minute, unfolding it in a room, plug it into power, a microphone, and a video projector. It will automatically power up and log onto the Verizon network, where I can connect to it from home and reconfigure it for local networking. I can not only control the robot and address an audience (as well as hear them), I can also control the various VMs on the BRIX and demonstrate any SQL Server setup that suits the talk.
As you might guess, this will allow me to broadcast to SQL Saturday events every week as well as attend many other conferences. If things work well, Red Gate is looking to deploy a few of these for not only presentations, but also for consulting in helping our customers use our tools to build robust software delivery piplines. We can ship one to a customer and then work with them in a remote situation.
I've very excited about the entire pilot, mostly because it's a joke on April 1. For now. Perhaps we'll give this a try at some point.